Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is back on Facebook. One month after dramatically quitting the platform and nearly banning it from the country entirely, his 14 million followers can find dozens of fresh posts on his page — sharing news updates, patriotic music videos, and even posed photos from a day on the golf course. The posts are now signed off as “managed and promoted” by his adviser Duong Dara, hinting that the leader hasn’t fully forgiven his favorite social network.
It’s the result of a strange stalemate between one of the internet’s largest platforms and one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world. At the end of June, the independent Oversight Board found that a speech made by Hun Sen qualified as inciting violence and recommended that Meta suspend him from their platforms for a minimum of six months. Sen responded by preemptively quitting — but the weeks since have shown a surprising indifference from Meta over the prime minister’s ongoing presence on Facebook.
In a statement after the ruling, Meta committed only to banning video of the speech, saying the company would “conduct a review of all the recommendations provided by the board in addition to its decision, and respond to the board’s recommendation on suspending Prime Minister Hun Sen’s accounts as soon as we have undertaken that analysis.” According to the bylaws of the Oversight Board, Meta has 60 days to respond, giving the company until August 28 — but the result has left Cambodia in an uncomfortable limbo.